Police Officer Richard Rothwell first noticed numbness in his left hand and face and difficulty talking while signing a store receipt, visiting family upstate New York in February 2016. After many years of first responder experience, he feared he was having a stroke and asked to immediately be taken to the nearest hospital. A long night of testing endured and Officer Rothwell was told he had a large brain tumor. Officer Rothwell, his family and the doctors in Rochester felt it was best that he see the experts at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital. In March 2016 Officer Rothwell underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor and pathology results would then confirm that he was now facing a brain cancer diagnosis. The next year would prove to be a true testament to Officer Rothwell’s perseverance and diligence in taking on new challenges.
Enduring 6 weeks of radiation, twice-monthly immunotherapy infusions and monthly doses of chemotherapy for a year, Officer Rothwell never once missed an appointment and was assiduous at following doctors’ orders, while also making great strides to do anything he could do to boost his immune system and improve upon his diet and exercise routine. Officer Rothwell never wavered in his dedication to his family or his health, and despite this grueling, aggressive treatment plan, he remained devoted to his two young children, working hard to keep life as normal for them as possible.
In April 2017 Officer Rothwell was ready to return to work full time and tackle a different challenge, embracing his new role as instructor at the Police Academy. With over 10 years of patrol experience, and the gained perspective that battling a life-threatening illness has given him, Officer Rothwell has proven to be an asset to the Police Academy, modeling strength and dedication to our newest members.
During and throughout the recovery from his illness, Officer Rothwell has become an inspiration to many, improving upon not only his physical health, but also his mental well-being, incorporating regular meditation and mindfulness practices to his daily life. Officer Rothwell has used this skillset to help revamp the Stress Management in Policing coursework to include mindfulness and meditation techniques. Officer Rothwell’s resolve and dedication to the Nassau County Police Department, after battling a life-threatening illness, is a testament to his courage and continuing strong will to help others.
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